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News/Business. The top news stories of the day, from politics to entertainment and business, with John Fugelsang. New. (CC) (Stereo)

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Koch 11, U.s. 9, S&p 7, Us 6, Obama 5, New York 5, The City 4, United States 4, Scott 3, Vo 3, United 3, John Fuglesang 3, Kansas City 3, Marco Rubio 2, L.a. 2, Harper 2, John Brennan 2, Obama Administration 2, Eric 2, David Clohessy 2,
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  Current    Viewpoint    News/Business. The top news stories of the day, from  
   politics to entertainment and business, with John Fugelsang. New....  

    February 5, 2013
    5:00 - 6:00pm PST  

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more about the execution of u.s. citizens without a trial. we have a whole other show coming up later tonight. theyoungturks.com. we'll see you there. "viewpoint" is next. >> john: when it came to toxic investments, they set the standard for making it. colonel mahoney has been relieved of his duties but does hope he can protect pedophiles in the private sector. eric says obama is getting in the way of partisanship which is like chris brown saying frank ocean got in the way of his
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first. today is the birthday of adlai stevenson, laura linney and the one and only jennifer granholm and an earthquake pummeled pompeii, italy. john boehner promises a vote on their relief funds any day now. this is "viewpoint." >> john: good evening i'm john fuglesang. coming up, the rating agencies help blow up our economy now the doj goes after one about four years too late. l.a.'s catholic archdiocese can't take the cover off habit and we'll find out how the mayor who liked to ask how am i doing actually did. first, if you've ever wondered how president obama's legal team justifies killings drone strikes on alleged terrorists
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overseas, they had an answer for you this morning. >> we only take these kinds of actions when there is an imminent threat. when we're confident we're doing so in a way that's consistent with federal and international law. >> john: okay. holder made those comments after nbc news released a justice department white paper justifying targeted killings of americans considered high-ranking leaders of al-qaeda. or their kids. a drone strike was used to kill radical muslim cleric anwar al-awlaki in september 2011. al-awlaki is said to play a role in the mail bomb attacks on the synagogues and the attempted underwear bombing over detroit back in christmas of 2009. he was also a leading al-qaeda propagandist. no one has accused his 16-year-old son or two other americans killed by drone strikes of similar crimes. but was al-awlaki involved in an imminent attack before he was
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killed? gentleman kneel offers said that depends on the definition of eminence. >> it is defined so broadly there is no relationship to the meaning of the term. the same is true of the other limitations the memo purr pots to set out. >> john: if you thought eminence is something that's about to happen, this will set you straight. where an allegedly al-qaeda leader is concerned the condition that an operational leader present an imminent threat of violent attack against the u.s., does not require the u.s. to have clear evidence that a specific attack will take place in the immediate future. so forgive us our trespasses as we trespass against those we think might one day trespass against us? as for oversight of the program 11 senators have sent president obama a letter demanding to see secret memos that go beyond the white paper to detail the legal justifications for killing american citizens overseas without any due process. oregon democratic senator ron wyden who signed the letter told
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reporters and i quote "the idea that the president has this extraordinary power that can be utilized in secret without any oversight or accountability i think is wrong and detrimental to the public interest." as for whether the memos will be forthcoming, attorney general holder offered this... >> we'll have to look at this and see how -- what it is we want to do with these memos. you have to understand we're talking about things that are -- go into really kind of how we conduct our offensive operations against a clear and present danger to this nation. >> john: that was attorney general eric holder doing his best george w. bush impression and succeeding. for more on the memo and the obama administration's justifications for killing allegedly american terrorists overseas without due process i'm joined by scott horton, contributing etter to "harper's" magazine and a columbia law school lecker and by madea benjamin cofounder of the human
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rights global exchange and author of "drone warfare killing by remote control." i'm so pleased you both could join us tonight. scott, let me start with you. what you did think of the memo when you first read it? was the legal thinking at all sound? >> i think it's problematic. first we have to say this is not the legal memo that was prepared for this administration, providing a justification for the use of drones in the al-awlaki case. there is an over 50-page memorandum that was done. we know meat lieberman -- marty lieberman prepared the memorandum. we know something about the analysis. but not much. this is a synopsis of it. a brief synopsis. my feeling is the people who prepared this probably didn't understand that memo very well because they made too many mistakes in it. there are areas where they just don't have it right. that's both on american constitutional law and on international law. >> john: is it not right as in
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it's wrong or plausible deniability? >> it's not right as in it doesn't correctly recite the legal standards that are to be applied. no one questions the fact that the president can order strikes can, in fact, order or authorize the killing of an american citizen in american circumstances. we just got this incident down in alabama, remember, where a young boy was taken hostage. a bus driver was killed and lethal force was used to free him. clear case. also in a war setting on a battlefield, you can have, as we had in prior conflicts have american citizens on the other side of a battle that can be shot at. this is dealing with a different circumstance. one where you don't have the immediacy of a battlefield situation. you don't have the mortal threat of a hostage taking. >> john: where eminence means maybe some day. medea, as a peace activist who has seen the impact of drone
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strikes firsthand did any of this surprise you today? >> well, it surprised me in the sense that i thought they would do a better job at trying to justify this. i agree with scott in that the language is so bad. but it is amazing to me that the administration has gotten away with killing three americans particularly the 17-year-old abdul al-awlaki who was never even alleged to have been involved in militant activities without some huge outcry. so i'm glad this is finally starting to get out. but i do also fault the intelligence committee for not doing this earlier. after all these attacks took place over a year ago in september 2011. >> john: scott aren't assassinations supposed to be illegal? >> yes indeed. we have an executive order issued by ronald reagan back in his day saying we don't assassinate and we have that phrase reappearing in this memo. i think what it means is that when we decide to assassinate we don't call it an
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assassination. in fact, we'll call it a targeted killing or something of that sort or an act of self-defense. >> john: from the minds who brought us collateral damage, metilla, have you any circumstances where folks on the ground felt the drone strikes were justified in the middle east? the main argument i don't hear about this is aren't the strikes making us less safe? >> i recently returned from pakistan. i can tell you with all certainty that we have alienated a huge number of people in that country who now consider the united states an enemy. so if we killed some high-level al-qaeda or some high-level taliban, it is not justified in the overall sense of are we safer as a nation. i would say we're far less safe as a nation and that's one of the reasons i think if they were a rational congress, they would be rejecting john brennan. >> john: i think it will be a timely hearing this week.
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scott, is the administration going down the same road as the bush administration did by keeping this secret? shouldn't the public understand what the administration is up to when it kills an american citizen who hasn't actually been charged with a crime under a president who is a constitutional scholar no less? >> exactly. i think the secrecy issue is ultimately a bigger issue than the underlying legal interpretation and question the presidential authority because the notion that the administration can have a secret understanding of the law what the law is and how it applies is really offensive. our nation was founded on the notion that the law is for all to know and when the administration adopts a legal view, that's to be checked. on your direct question, you're right on the money on this. senator obama criticized the bush administration vociferously over their secret memoranda. candidate obama promised he would make full disclosure of the secret memos of the bush
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years and in fact, within a few months of coming to office, he did so. i think against that background, it is all the more shocking that president obama has launched on the same course of keeping really vital memoranda of this sort secret. there, you saw eric holder, really not able to articulate a justification. >> john: exactly. it is not just president obama. it is whoever is the next president and the president after that. medea, i know the democrats think they'll control the white house until 2024 at this point but are you concerned that not just president obama but future administrations, even if governor romney had become president right now last month they could use these legal arguments to continue targeted killings of citizens? >> yes of course. it is a huge power grab by the executive that does an end run against the judiciary but it also does an end run against congress because they say when they use drone strikes, it is not a war so the act doesn't have anything to do with it. i think people should be very
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concerned whether they're democrats, republicans independents, this is not the way our government is supposed to be run. >> john: i spent all day having my fox news loving friends say even liberals do it. read a dictionary. this action isn't liberal. scott, here's my question for you. are you concerned at all that the program could be extended to targeted killings of american terror suspects here in the domestic u.s.? >> well, i mean this memo is pretty clear saying that the analysis of applies outside the united states, not in the u.s. but a lot of the legal reasoning that's applied could just as easily be used in the united states. i think one thing that's quite disturbing here is we saw eric holder's speech in chicago. john brennan's speech at harvard. they both presented a very carefully balanced nuance, a conservative application of this power. there's not any evidence of that in memorandum. it presents a very expansive aggressive view. so it is really only one more
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step to say the president could do it domestically. >> john: medea about 30 seconds left. do you have any doubt i'm sure you feel the u.s. should abandon the drone program. do you think that if that happened however some al-qaeda suspects would be beyond our reach or are you resign to the fact this is how warfare is going to be conducted for the rest of our lives? >> i think this keeps us in a state of perpetual war that we are making more enemies than we can kill. and i think we should stop this lethal use of drones and i think we would be better off as a nation. >> john: i could talk about this subject all night. i thank you both. scott horton, contributing editor to "harper's" magazine and medea benjamin, codirector of code pink. thank you, both so much for your time tonight. eric holder is having a busy day. he has another project in mind. the poor standards at standard & poor's. that's next.
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(vo) later tonight current tv is the place for compelling true stories. >> jack, how old are you? >> nine. >> this is what 27 tons of marijuana looks like. (vo) with award winning documentaries that take you inside the headlines, way inside. (vo) from the underworld, to the world of privilege. >> everyone in michael jackson's life was out to use him. (vo) no one brings you more documentaries that are real, gripping, current. >> john: welcome back to "viewpoint." it's time now for the thing of the day. tonight's thing, the overused term that nobody really
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understands of the day. and that term, sequestration. no, it's he not an olympic event with ann romney's horse. sequestration is the half of the fiscal cliff that was never solved but was instead given a new deadline of march 1st. earlier today president obama asked that deadline be pushed back a few weeks. if sequestration were to go into effect, it would mean massive automatic spending reductions, politicians in congress are looking for a catchier term than sequestration but they keep putting it off. but haven't delays always been the hallmark of our government? a $5 billion lawsuit related to the housing bubble. the obama administration and a growing number of states are suing standard & poor's for the way it rated mortgage bonds from 2004 to 2007. you might recall those bonds were rated just a tad high. sometimes aaa ratings for bonds backed by mortgages even when those mortgages were for people with no realistic shot at ever paying them and everyone knew it. the economy subsequently took an
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olympic-style dive. so why did s&p tend to give them such high ratingses? this may or may not be relevant but the company that issued the bonds were the ones who paid s&p for the ratings not suspicious at all. this may also be why prosecutors accuse s&p of giving the wrong ratings on purpose. but is a lawsuit against one company the way to go? let's bring in dennis kelleher. this is too big for my small mind. he's president and ceo of better markets. thank you for joining me. >> hi, john. >> john: you've read the complaint. what kind of case does the doj have? >> well, you know, it is 120 pages of fairly detailed allegations that include e-mails which is to say the very words of the people who worked at the rating agency at the time. so by appearances, it appears to be a very strong case. they importantly have brought it as a civil case. they also have a lower standard of proof that they have to show in order to win the case. but you know, as a trial lawyer
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for many years, there's two sides to every story. in this case, there is a long way to go. it looks strong coming out of the gate. >> john: if fraud is involved, can a lawsuit detect conflicts of interest? >> you know, the big question is -- two big questions. one is it's mail fraud wire fraud and financial institution fraud but it's being charged civilly, not criminally. and they're charging the institution but no individuals. the last time i -- i looked, i have not seen a building actually do anything. it is the people, the executives the supervisors, the staff, and yet once again what we have is charges which happen infrequently but even when they do happen, they go after institutions and they don't go after people. until either department of justice or the s.e.c. gets serious, brings criminal charges and goes after executives and supervisors, unfortunately, wall street will remain high crime area. >> john: i guess mitt romney was right.
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corporations really are people. is it fair to focus on s&p? weren't other ratings agencies doing the same exact thing? >> well, on the one hand, it's fair and on the other it isn't. it's fair because no matter who you are or what role you play, if you break the law there ought to be accountability and you ought to be prosecuted. in that sense, i think it is fair. on the other hand, let's hope that this is just the beginning of the lawsuits against not only this rating agency but other rating agencies and their executives and supervisors. let's also think, it is almost like somebody hires someone to open the door of a bank and then they run in the bank and rob the bank and then they leave and get away with 99% of the money. the cops show up and arrest the person who opened the door to the bank and didn't go after the people who ran away with the money. so it's the wall street banks that ended up with 99% of the cash. so yes it's fair. go get the rating agencies. they were absolutely critical for this whole entire ponzi scheme that we refer to as a subprime crisis. but let's go after the big dogs,
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the big powerful, well-connected wealthy of wall street who have been allowed to walk away with all of their billions. >> john: do you think you'll ever see this administration or any administration go after banks? >> to have any faith in that at this point in time approaches don coyote levels. i want to be hopeful. i don't want to give it up but one should not be overly optimistic. >> john: let me shift to the timing then because i find the timing the most interesting thing about this story. first off, why did it take so long to file this particular suit? >> i think the people who did this will tell you these are complex cases. they literally interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people. as somebody who actually litigated extremely complex securities cases i agree with that. on the other hand, i never had the subpoena of power and the authority and might of the department of justice. you would think it wouldn't take four plus years to do this.
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particularly when there have been many books and many tv shows that have detailed the rigging of the ratings process as well as the entire ponzi scheme that was built around that that wall street just sold and distributed hundreds of billions of dollars of worthless securities. so it is like where you been? >> john: when obama was running for president, all of the people on the left are saying go after the guys who ripped us off. he became president. everyone on the left said why aren't isn't he going after the guys who ripped us off. do you find it interesting two weeks after his inauguration for his second term, now finally they're going after -- starting with s&p and going after these guys? do you think that it was a matter of playing it safe until they knew they really had the gig? >> you know, i genuinely don't believe that. frankly, there is a good argument to be made that obama would have done better in the election if he had been tough on wall street before the election because one of the very few things that polls very high
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whether you're a democrat, a republican left, right doesn't matter is people believe wall street ripped them off. caused a massive financial crisis and has inflected economic wreckage from coast-to-coast in this country and those people are right. so it would have been very politically popular to do it ahead of time. i think there has overall been an attitude of not to bother, not to touch wall street because they're intimidated by them. they're fund-raising from them and they think that the entire financial system depends upon them. not understanding that cleaning up wall street would be the best thing for our economy. it would be good for wall street and it would be good for main street. for some reason, they just won't do it. >> john: you make me want to clone teddy roosevelt. s&p is the company that downgraded the rating on u.s. debt. some are claiming this is an act of revenge even though s&p pretty much blamed it on the g.o.p. what do you think? >> you know, there are some who see conspiracies behind every corner. there's almost nobody who has
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been tougher on the justice department than we have been for their lack of enforcement of the law on wall street and against the rich, powerful and well-connected in this country. i think that the allegations of conspiracies, relating to the ratings of the united states are foolish. but the department of justice can put those allegations to rest very quickly by charging the other rating agencies, charging the wall street banks go after the executives and supervisors and individuals who did this to our country and hold them to account. that will take care of the conspiracy theories. >> john: well put. i'll march the streets of d.c. with you on that one. dennis kelleher, president and ceo of better markets, thank you so much for joining us tonight. >> thanks, john. >> john: it's also justice delayed for victims of priest molestation.
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>> john: okay, this is really special. today, senator marco rubio answered a call that nobody gave and revealed a spotify list of his favorite songs. now, i like these lists because if there's one thing that unites democratic and republican politicians, they're all uncooler than the uncool person you know. barack obama once revealed on his ipod, he was a huge fan of jay-z and bob dylan. last year, paul ryan informed a grateful nation he was into rage against the machine although i meant grovel before the machine. marco rubio's list is fun. he has u2, calvin harris, coldplay and even the you tupac song changes is on his spotify list. although when he heard the reference to huey being shot, he was devastated to learn we had lost huey lewis. he was a early front-runner for the g.o.p. nomination. one of his favorite songs is click by kanye with big shawn
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and jay-z. i'm not sure if he realized he just announced his fondness for the lyrics ain't nobody fresher than my mother fen click click click. i tell a bad bitch do whatever i say, i might let my crew bang deeper than wu tang. he's catholic. he calls out former bush c.i.a. director tenet. tea party? your move. thinking. >>ok, so there's wiggle room in the ten commandments, that's what you're saying. (vo) she's joy behar. >>current will let me say anything.
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>> john: two weeks ago on this program, we covered the horrific story of the southern california archdiocese finally being forced to release documents revealing that church officials including cardinal roger mahoney knew of priests sexually abusing children and rather than turn them into law enforcement
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merely relocated the priests to different parishes. the document released which was shamefully delayed for six years by the church was part of a $660 million settlement with over 50 victims of this abuse. now more shame as lawyers for the victims allege that the documents released are incomplete with numerous names redacted in complete defiance of a judge's order. leaving one to wonder why the church is so afraid to make a full confession of sins. joining me now is david clohessy, executive director of the survivor's network of those abused by priests and the executive director of catholics united, james salt. thank you so much for your time this evening. >> sure. >> john: let me start with you, david. is this just another insult on top of an insult to injury? >> well, it is. definitely an insult. worse than that, it is continuing to conceal the truth. let's face it. most of these predators are not
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in ministry. but most are not jailed. their names have been out there. what these documents were supposed to provide were the names of the enablers. so the fact that many church officials who hid this abuse their identities are still being protected today by archbishop gomez and his lawyers, that's troubling. >> john: what do you think they're not in ministry in they're not defrocked but they were relieved of duties? >> correct. most predator priests around the country, they're suspended from active duty but they remain priests, stay on the payroll and sadly, very few of them are monitored or supervised. >> john: james we know the church isn't trying to protect the children. who are they trying to protect at this point? >> unfortunately, they're protecting their own assets and their own power. this is a tragic reminder of the pervasive culture of corruption that's rampant in the highest ranks of american catholicism. >> john: how much higher up the church hierarchy could this possibly go in the states? do people think this will
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stretch to rome at some point? >> certainly there's footprints leading to rome. even outside of california, we know that bishop in kansas city was convicted of covering up the crime of one of its pedophile priests yet today, he administers the diocese of kansas city. under his own guidelines for child protection, he would not himself be permitted to engage in any ministry with children in his own diocese. still he's there. >> john: cardinal mahoney was stripped of all church duties. are you satisfied with that or do you think we need to see criminal charges? >> well, it's a very belated symbolic gesture. it might make people feel good in the short term but it won't be effective in terms of deterring cover-ups in the future. what will deter bishops from concealing abuse and endangering kids in the future will be criminal prosecution and we still believe that that is possible in l.a. >> john: gentlemen, we were all raised catholic here. is this one more example that
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the catholic church has not learned its lesson continuously protecting the church and the church's reputation and assets over protecting the children of the faith? >> absolutely. >> i think that is, in fact the case. go ahead. i'm sorry. >> the only way out of this for the catholic church is to have a full accounting of every supervisor, every priest who was ever engaged in this issue. that's the only way we're going to restore the dignity of the victims of this abuse. it is the only way we'll restore the dignity of the church itself. >> john: let me talk policy a little bit. i want to get your opinion on this. celibacy was introduced to the church, made law in 1139 a.d. this is one of the things that sets the catholic church apart from many christian denominations in the country. married priests are technically the conservative point of view. the first pope st. peter was married. all of the priests and popes and bishops over 1,000 years were able to marry. do you think and it is just a hypothetical, do you think if the church went back to its
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roots and allowed married priests to serve, would we see a lot of these problems disappear in a generation or two? >> i think it could only help. in a celibate system where no sex is permitted many men will have sexual secrets. if you have a sexual secret, you're not about to report or rat on or exposes another person who is offending. so i think that celibacy contributes to this incredibly tight culture of secrecy still in the church today. >> john: james what do you think? >> i agree with david. you know, i think allowing married priests is going to take us one step closer to being in solidarity with the lives of most american catholics which is you know, living and breathing with other people in a day to day context. that only makes the priesthood more human and closer to the ministry that the church is called to do. >> john: we all know that church attendance has been declining starkly in recent
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years. the church has to realize how scandals like this drive people away from the pews. do you think that they're getting the message? do you think that they're realizing they're marginalizing themselves and every time they try to hide the truth and the abuse for the sake of the church, what they're really doing is killing the church itself? >> that's certainly the case. the millennial generation, young catholics are walking away in droves. it is because they don't see the leadership of the bishops in any way reflecting the gospel of jesus. i think they see the political machinations of falwell and robertson. it is almost unintelligible today, the pro-phetic catholic voice i was inspire inspired to follow. >> john: does the church still believe it is more powerful than the u.s. legal system? >> i certainly think that some bishops do.
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and tragically, history is on their side. james mentioned bishop in kansas city. he's the only bishop current or former who has faced criminal charges. so i think unless that changes when individual bishops feel the pain of their own punishment and the criminal's fear, when that happens, i think that's when we'll see reform and sadly not until that happens. >> john: bring on the female priests. david clohessy, executive director for the network of those abused by priests and james salt, executive director of catholics united. thanks for your time and insights this evening. >> thank you. >> john: thank you. back to new york city, we look at the late mayor ed koch. how did he do and more importantly what did he leave undone? first, let's see what's coming up on "say anything" with joy behar. joy? >> joy: thanks, john. next on "say anything," i'll talk with cheryl hines about her new hit sitcom suburgatory. for some reason, her character on the show is obsessed with moi.
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>> my character dulles is joy behar is my role model my idol, my inner strength. >> joy: i'll talk with comedian rachel dratch who went from being a cast member on "saturday night live" to an unexpected mother at the age of 32. john mccain is in hot water for sending out a tweet concerning ahmadinejad to a monkey. no wonder jindal is calls the g.o.p. the stupid party. more "viewpoint" with john fuglesang right after this. hand of government" ... i want to have that conversation. really? you know i'd like to arm our viewers with the ability to argue with their conservative uncle joe over the dinner table.
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>> john: for the tweet of the day, we asked for your thoughts on immigration reform. susan dansic writes they're going to be so surprised when people come out of the shadows to see they're not all
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hispanics. true that. in new york, we have folks from korea, china serbia, romania. and that's just robert deniro's girlfriends. if you have a comment for the show tweet us at john fuglesang or use the hash tag "viewpoint." now, as a deeply insecure comedian, there is, of course, a special place in my heart for anyone who walks around a city constantly asks people how am i doing? edward koch passed away friday at the age of 88. while there were many questions about his stance on some issues as well as his lack of a stance on others, there is no doubt they've transformed the city during his time as mayor. when he took office in '78, the city was on the brink of bankruptcy. outlook was bleak. over a decade later, when he left, the city was a brighter place for some people. one of the many dignitaries to attend his funeral was of course former president bill clinton who had this to say about the late mayor. >> i don't think i ever debated
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discussed, discussed agreed with anybody in this line of work who had a better feel for the impact of what people in government did on the real lives of people. >> john: for more on the legacy of ed koch, i'm happy to be joined by wayne barrett special investigative reporter for "newsweek" "daily beast" who wrote for 37 years. you raised me, sir. extensively covering the career of ed koch including the explosive book "city for sale" and richard socarides, former president of equality matters. good evening gentlemen. thank you both for joining me. i can imagine it has been a busy couple of days. wayne, question that ed koch always asked is how am i doing. we hear in the media, how did he do, how did he do. you documented a lot of malfeasance. one thing you said, you wish that you always had written more
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positive pieces about ed koch. >> yeah. shortly after rudy giuliani was elected in '93 i had my first lunch with ed koch. i had a testy relationship. we occasionally exchanged words prior to that. but i never really had a lunch. bobby wagner, who was deputy mayor under koch, someone i had a very good relationship with, the son of the former mayor arranged a lunch. bobby was always late. so koch and i had to sit there for a half hour just -- fringe of conversation. that's what i said to him then. i said i don't regret nor would i correct any of the million negative words i've written about you but i wish i had written freestanding stories about you talking about the positives that you did. i would have a paragraph of positives in 20 paragraphs of negatives but i never wrote a free-standing story about, for example, the transformation of
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the face of the city because he started the first city funded housing program he didn't build all of the housing. but all of the mayors that followed him couldn't abandon that. so when you collectively put it together, the housing he started and the housing that every mayor since has continued we're talking about 365,000 units of rehab and new construction. it's changed the neighborhoods of the city, the poorest neighborhoods of the city. i said in the piece i wrote after he died, he didn't carry it in his last election against david dinkins a single one of the neighborhoods that he transform the. >> john: do you think he will be remembered more for the positives or the negatives? >> i think people want to remember him fondly and like him because he was such a big personality. new yorkers think -- the city has a big personality. he was a big personality. he was a character. he had many very entertaining qualities. i think people want to remember
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him fondly. but like anybody who serves in public office for a long time and he was mayor for 12 years it is a very mixed record. i mean one of the things i talked about in the piece i wrote about him for the new yorker was his very mixed record on a.i.d.s. he was mayor at the very beginning of the a.i.d.s. crisis. you know, his lack of leadership in retrospect was startling especially for someone who many people in the gay community felt should be one of our own and that was a big -- that was a big rub. that was -- now looking back, that a big problem for that legacy. >> john: at the time, he was not unique politically in that regard. >> he was not unique but he was also mayor of new york and new york was where the a.i.d.s. epidemic started. he was the leader of a city which was at the center of this. so he was also -- you're right. he was not unique in public figures who wanted to deny that
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there was a crisis that was at the beginning and you know, also, you know, not everybody knew. nobody could tell that it became, you know, this global pandemic that we have today. he was at the center of it. i think that there's pretty uniform agreement that part of what made him reluctant to show leadership in this area was the fear that people would think that he was gay. >> john: folks who didn't live in new york, of course, knew ed koch through the '70s and '80s as this charismatic guy with the broadway musical about his life. he was hilarious hosting "saturday night live." he appeared in several films. but there are, of course, a lot of criticisms of him and one of the most potent criticisms is his treatment of minorities and his relationship with minority communities. wayne, you mentioned he built a lot of low-income housing. what do you think his legacy will be in terms of bringing races together in new york? >> no question, it is a bad one. you want to say some nice things
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about a guy who just died. but look, there's this wonderful film that neil barsky did just out in the theatres now called koch and you know, it is a very balanced picture. does the pluses and minuses of almost every issue about him. in the end of the movie, his birthday party at gracie mansion, it is an all white crowd. his funeral was an all white funeral. the fact is that he was the mayor of part of the city. and he said at one point that he believed that most blacks were anti-semitic. this is a profoundly jewish guy who thinks that most black people hate jews which is a totally ridiculous statement. but he was consumed by it. he acted as if he believed that. if you believe that most blacks hate you, then you might be a little hateful toward them. >> he was someone who believe in a lot of these stereotypes which
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we hear in water cooler conversation but he seemed to reinforce them by a lot of the things he said, don't you think? >> yes. >> john: you can see that in central park five movie as well where he was leading the charge for convicting these guys before a trial even happened. in fairness, he did campaign hard for david dinkins after he beat him in the primary race. >> yeah. you know, he did a lot of things. the housing thing is the number one thing. but he did an awful lot of things to try in his final term, to deal with this question. but you know, jesse jackson was the black hero of his time and he said that jews would have to be crazy to vote for this guy. >> he did say that. >> these are the kinds of things that polarize cities. >> john: it prompted a lot of jews to go back over to jackson's campaign. >> it was a much more racially divisive time. by all accounts, because of a lot of things, the city is much more united although there are
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still racial tensions that exist and probably the haves and the have nots in the city is even more extreme. on the issue of whether or not he had an obligation to come out as an openly gay elected official when he ran for office, there were no openly gay elected officials anywhere in the country. >> john: right. >> it's hard to look back on his life and say well, he should have because it was such a different time then. now, there are over 1,000 anticipately gay and -- openly gay and elected officials. >> john: we can say it was fair of him to live his life as he chose. it was his per og tev to reveal what he wanted to about his homosexuality. he did say he was heterosexual. >> later in his life, he was less affirmative about suggesting he was heterosexual. >> john: he was? >> it was none of anybody's
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business. >> john: very charming hypothetical personal -- hinted at it. in the mayor's office, he said i'm not gay. >> it would have required an extraordinary amount of leadership and personal courage to come out after he was already elected either to show leadership in the a.i.d.s. crisis or just being authentic. i say in this new yorker piece in some ways, we should have sympathy for someone who carried that around as i think most people think he did for his whole life. >> john: young people have no idea how tough it was to come out before the '90s. >> tragedy in my view on this was rudy giuliani, i wrote in two books about giuliani. no one has ever questioned the accuracy. i had eight people on the record tell me that rudy yell janney investigated ed koch's sex life when rudy was the u.s. attorney thinking he was going to be running against koch. this happened shortly before. koch knew it to be true. then it looked like rudy might
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be president of the united states in 2007, i tried to get koch to say something about this. and he wouldn't say anything about it. he would let the man who investigated his sex life, he didn't have to say i was gay. he just had to say i know that rudy investigated my reputed lover. >> john: only about 30 seconds left. koch liked to describe himself as a liberal with san at this time. does he get away with that? >> i think it is hard to categorize him. he defies categorization. certainly, he came from a progressive new yorker liberal tradition. he didn't really govern as a liberal. i think the one thing we can say positive -- we can say many things positive about the man. especially now after he's gone but he was a huge fighter. he believed in the city. believed in his people. he was a fighter for the city and you know, despite the fact it is a mixed record, he did a lot of good. >> john: he was contradictory
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he was controversial. he was maddening colorful and charismatic. the guy was new york. no matter what, i'm going to miss having him around. special investigator for "newsweek" the "daily beast," and thank you richard socarides. wish we could talk about him all night. tonight we're asking how's eric cantor doing? short answer, not too great. that's next. >>current will let me say
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>> john: last time we saw
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richard, it was when he heard the word namaste. since then, he has been hard at work rebuilding the g.o.p. brand. that's something eric cantor is good at. he's attempted more face-lifts than a "desperate housewives" reunion. he led the young guns p.r. campaign which was slightly sillier than the movie young guns. there was the cut and grow plan. today was eric cantor's fourth attempt at rebranding the g.o.p. without changing the ideology. all of this from a man who doesn't believe in recycling. today's speech was titled making life work. he wanted to call it making female life work for 1/3 less pay. during the speech, representative cantor talked about how hard life is for working moms without mentioning his opposition to the violence against women act. he reminded you to blame barack obama for your insurance companies premiums going up. he said he wanted to reform